Luis Bosshart, Jeremiah Dittmar: Pandemic shock and economic divergence: political economy before and after the black death, in: CEP (Centre for Economic Performance) Discussion Paper No. 1805 (October 2021).
The authors of this study document how the Black Death activated politics and led to economic divergence within Europe. Before the pandemic, economic development was similar in Eastern and Western German cities despite greater political fragmentation in the West. The pandemic precipitated a divergence that coincided with prior differences in politics. After the pandemic, construction and manufacturing fell by 1/3 in the East relative to underlying trends and the Western path. Politics institutionalizing local self-government advanced in the West, but not in the East. This divergence is observed across otherwise similar cities along historic borders and foreshadows a subsequent divergence in agriculture.